With pets living longer than ever, there’s a higher risk of cancer development in old age. Our team here at Heritage Animal Hospital has put together this list of 10 warning signs of cancer to watch for in your furry companion.
#1: Abnormal or rapidly growing swellings
Swollen lymph nodes, located under the jaw, on the hind legs, or in the armpits and shoulders, can be a sign of lymphoma. Other lumps and bumps that change shape, size, or appearance can be malignant and should be checked.
#2: Difficulty urinating or defecating
Pets can develop tumors in their bladder, urinary tract, intestinal tract, or around their rectum, which can make urinating and defecating difficult. You may also notice straining, decreased elimination, or blood in the urine or stool.
#3: Sores that do not heal
Open wounds or sores that do not heal, despite antibiotic therapy, can be a sign of something more serious, such as a cancerous process.
#4: Appetite change
Pets may suddenly eat more or less—generally less—when afflicted with cancer. They may also begin eating unusual items.
#5: Weight change
Your pet may experience weight changes, despite no diet or exercise adjustment. Pets with cancer may also vomit or have diarrhea.
#6: Decreased activity
Pets with cancer feel unwell and, if left untreated, fail to enjoy their daily activities. You may find your pet lying around more, hiding, avoiding playtime, or shunning interaction.
Persistent lameness, despite exercise restriction, rest, and pain medication, can indicate osteosarcoma, one of the most common bone cancers affecting pets.
#8: Difficulty eating, swallowing, or breathing
Tumors can form in the digestive or respiratory tracts, making it challenging for food, water, or air to pass large masses. Many cancers also metastasize to the lungs, causing breathing discomfort and inducing coughing.
#9: Bleeding or discharge from body openings
Bleeding is a common sign of cancer and other serious illnesses.
#10: Unpleasant mouth odor
Oral tumors can create a foul mouth odor, and internal systemic disease can lead to an unpleasant odor.
Has your furry companion developed one or more of these cancer warning signs? If so, please contact us to schedule an appointment.